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Download from the Prairie Climate Centre (PCC)

Building a Climate-Resilient City: Electricity and information and communication technology infrastructure

This policy brief examines ways to build resilience in energy and information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure as a contribution to building urban resilience to climate change.

The purpose of this work is to demonstrate connections between energy and ICT and other city infrastructure, showcase best practices for improving resilience within these sectors and provide recommendations for action to integrate qualities of resilience into this system. 

Key Messages

  • A warming and more variable climate stresses the electricity grid by increasing cooling demand requirements and by its exposure to climate shocks such as ice storms, droughts and tornados.
  • Conventional infrastructure design standards need to be strengthened to account for climate change impacts; the PIEVC protocol is a proven Canadian methodology.
  • Renewable energy generation and storage technologies are modular and distributed, and provide resilience to climate shocks.
  • ICT is naturally decentralized and modular, and has high climate resilience. Redundant landlines, Internet service provider diversity, emergency roaming and cell phone micro-charging backup systems will increase ICT climate resilience.

The Building a Climate-Resilient City series was prepared for the City of Edmonton and the City of Calgary by the Prairie Climate Centre, a collaboration between the University of Winnipeg and the International Institute for Sustainable Development. This series looks makes recommendations for steps that cities can take as part of their municipal adaptation planning to build their resilience to climate change. It explores three key principles of resilience building: robustness (strong design), redundancy (building extra capacity into systems to act as fail-safe networks) and resourcefulness (citizen empowerment).